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When Inspiration Doesn’t Strike, Here’s What To Do

I’m waiting for inspiration.

I’ll write when the muse strikes.

I’m too tired.

I’m too busy.

I want to but I can’t.

You know what makes me sad? These are the excuses I see from people who want to be creative but don’t follow through.

I’m reading a little book that talks about creativity right now, and in one section the author writes about the differences between being a professional and being an amateur.

One group talks the talk, the other group walks it.

There were so many days that I never felt like painting but did so anyway.

Stepping up to murder canvases and turn out garbage as I worked to get my skills to a level I was happy with.

Sure, having inspiration helps. It greases the wheels. Makes everything easier.

But like everything emotional, it is fickle.

You know when you sit at work and think of all the things you want to be doing? Writing that novel or making that art? Ideas flow like mad. And then you get home and poof! Nada.

Fickle.

I wrote the first draft of my book by showing up every day and writing one page. Just the one. I didn’t wait for inspiration, outside of getting the idea to write it. I didn’t write only when I felt like it.

Two years ago, when I knew I needed to create a body of work – a good-sized portfolio for my art – I did the same thing. I jumped onto a 30 in 30 challenge (in 30 days create 30 paintings) and painted nearly every night for a month. Whether I felt like it or not. Whether I was inspired or not. I showed up at 7pm and painted.

A few of those pieces were garbage but not as many as I expected. Just like some of my daily emails maybe miss the mark but I show up every day anyway.

But here’s my secret to showing up: have a schedule and stick to it.

This removes the emotional element from creating.

And if daily is too much for you? Make an appointment with yourself and know that every Xday, you will create a thing. Whatever you thing is. That’s how I started, way back when I decided to add art back into my life. Saturday nights were for painting. Just the one day.

What happens when life gets in the way? Because you might have noticed I’m not painting right now. Production is at an all-time low.

Life can and does get in the way. The trick is to deal with what’s going on and then jump right back in.

Don’t think about it. Don’t agonize (too much anyway). Just hold your nose and jump back in.